MMA card features four local bouts
In a perfect world Leo Morales would have fought on the last mixed martial arts card in front of his hometown last April at MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa.
But his ribs had other ideas. Two fractured ribs prevented Morales from taking part in the Ultimate Combat amateur show, delaying his home debut until Saturday night at MontBleu in Stateline.
“Half of Tahoe will be there to support me,” Morales said. “I’ve never been more excited about anything in my athletic career. I can’t wait to get it on. I’m not holding anything back.”
Morales is one of four local fighters who will appear on Rick Collup’s 10-bout card. Morales is scheduled to tangle with Chris Deluna in a 145-pound match.
Gerry Ribeira of the South Shore will also make his MMA debut, opposing Reno’s Jose Ayala at 155 pounds.
Ryan McCarthy and Paul Hubbell will make their second local appearances on Saturday’s after losing their debuts back in April. Hubbell will meet Titus Lawrence of Sacramento at 155 pounds and McCarthy will battle Reno’s Tyler Bowen at 155.
Morales has shed 21 of 23 necessary pounds to get down to 145.
“It’s been a bipolar experience,” Morales said. “I can’t wait to eat. It’s been a very disciplined journey to get there.”
Morales expects his bout with Deluna to take place on their feet.
“He’s a ground guy, and with my background in boxing and kickboxing, it should be a very intense, stand-up fight,” Morales said. “It should be a very explosive fight.”
Pro boxer and trainer Simon Ruvalcaba plans to work the corner of Morales, giving up a trip to Brazil for the Ken Shamrock-Marc Coleman fight.
“I gotta look out for a friend,” Ruvalcaba said.
Headlining the 10-fight card is a heavyweight title bout between a pair of unbeatens: San Jose’s Steve Dickey (7-0) and champion Tyler Addiego (5-0) of Grass Valley.
Collup serves as promoter and matchmaker for the Ultimate Combat series, which is based in Reno. Doors open at 8 p.m., with the card starting at 9 p.m. Tickets are $25 for general admission and $35 for premium seats. For tickets call the MontBleu box office at 775-588-3515 or go to ticketmaster.com.
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